Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was on Monday sentenced to three years in prison after a court found him guilty of corruption who “tried to bribe a top lawyer with the promise of a job in Monaco.”
He will serve a one-year prison term with two years suspended term.
Sarkozy, 66, has faced multiple graft accusations since leaving office in 2012 and prosecutors successfully argued he tried to obtain information about a separate probe into alleged financial impropriety in his party. He did so by offering to help judge Gilbert Azibert secure a well-paid legal adviser role in the principality of Monaco.
Judges said there was “serious evidence” of collaboration between the three men to break the law.
It is unlikely Sarkozy will spend a day in jail. The prison term can be served with certain conditions, including the wearing of an electronic bracelet, or limited home confinement.
The former president is expected to appeal against the conviction.
The verdict has quashed Sarkozy’s hopes of returning to public life for next year’s presidential election. His Les Républicains party has been struggling to come up with a credible candidate since Sarkozy’s former prime minister François Fillon was engulfed in scandal during the 2017 presidential race, that paved the way for Emmanuel Macron to win.
Sarkozy had repeatedly denied the accusations of wrongdoing and spent years attempting to have the charges thrown out and the case dismissed.
He is also being investigated on allegations of “influence peddling” and “laundering of crime or misdemeanour” related to consulting activities in Russia.
Sarkozy became the first former president to appear in court on criminal charges. His predecessor Jacques Chirac was charged and convicted – with a two-year suspended sentence – over fake jobs at City Hall when he was mayor of Paris – but was spared taking the stand because of ill health.
Thierry Herzog, the former president’s lawyer was convicted of breaching the rules of professional secrecy between him and his client, Sarkozy.